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Careers in Nanotechnology

photo of a DNA slide being placed in a microscope

“We are at the very beginning in terms of understanding the potential for nanotechnology. The question is not whether we will be impacted by nanotechnology in the future, but rather how much we will be impacted.  Understanding the concepts and tools of nanotechnology is crucial to a successful career in engineering or the sciences at either the technologist or engineer level.”

— Dr. Kory J. Goldammer, Nanotechnology program coordinator and faculty, Richland College

The Nanotechnology Industry

Like geospatial technology and biotechnology, nanotechnology encompasses a broad range of emerging technologies with even broader multidisciplinary applications in medicine, manufacturing and industry, environmental regulation and national defense. There is no one job described as a “nanotechnician,” but instead a number of jobs from technician to managerial levels that incorporate the applications of nanotechnology into their research, development, manufacturing and production processes.

Specific Careers Using Nanotechnology

Careers in the many related fields of nanotechnology are as diverse as the technology itself and depend significantly on the individual’s level of education and professional experience.

America’s Career InfoNet gives detailed information about the skills, abilities, work activities and recommended education for jobs in fields using nanotechnology. Please note that in most cases, an associate degree in nanotechnology is a starting point for career fields that require various levels of education and experience. Estimated earnings in Texas are:

Job Median Hourly Rate Median Annual Salary Projected Job Growth Through 2018
Agricultural and food science technicians $14.06 $29,200 +14%
Biological technicians $15.85 $33,000 +22%
Engineering technicians $27.13 $56,400 +14%
Environmental science and protection technicians $17.78 $37,000 +17%
Industrial machinery mechanics $26.71 $55,600 +19%
Medical and clinical lab technicians $15.77 $32,800 +23%

Nanotechnology Named by U.S. Department of Labor as One of Top Emerging Technologies

“Over the decade ending 2014 ... the U.S. will need [more than] 3 million health care providers and technical specialists, including physicians, therapists and [more than] 1.2 million registered nurses. There will also be [more than] 3.5 million job openings in the education, training and library occupations fields. Other high growth fields include geospatial technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing. So, more than ever before, education, training and retraining are the keys to future earnings.”

— Speech by U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao at the Society for Human Resources Management in Washington, D.C., March 13, 2007